Monday, June 27, 2011

Using the sun to circumnavigate the globe

Futuristic is an understated expression for this sea vessel. Covered all over with solar panels, the world's largest solar-powered vessel by the name of MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar has been accepting the challenge since April 2011 to circumnavigate the globe as the first sea vessel powered by solar energy - to be precise this means about 40,000 kilometres in 160 days.

The name means 'The Power of the Sun' in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings language because the vessel made of carbon fibre is driven only be solar energy. Thanks to its ca. 500 m² solar modules consisting of 38,000 solar cells on a surface 31 m long and 15 m wide, the MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar can be navigated without direct sunlight for up to three days. Because the most modern submarine accumulators of the world store the energy. Furthermore four electric motors are supplied by them with current.

According to the technical data the vessel weighs 85 tons, 12 tons of which go to the batteries. The vessel is navigated via a small joystick. 160 days are planned for the 40,000 some kilometre trip at an average speed of about 8 knots.

The circumnavigation is to take the message of the efficient use of renewable energies symbolically around the globe. During the long-term use during the circumnavigation the efficiency of the vessel is also to be tested. German and Swiss companies were involved in the construction of the catamaran. The MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar shows at present that the engineers have done an optimum job.

No comments:

Post a Comment